Jamaican lawyer a no show in matter involving former attorney general

Jamaican lawyer a no show in matter involving former attorney general

Saturday, May 18, 2019

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PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) — Jamaica-born Queen's Counsel Vincent Nelson is due to appear in court on June 4, after he failed to appear on Thursday in the case against former Attorney General Anand Ramlogan and former United National Congress (UNC) legislator, Gerald Ramdeen.

Nelson was earlier this month granted TT$100,000 bail on corruption conspiracy charges in connection with a series of financial transactions involving legal fees, during the 2010-15 period of the UNC-led People's Partnership Government.

Nelson was due to appear before Justice Malcom Holdip in the High Court here Thursday, but when the matter was called, the court was informed that the London-based attorney was not present.

The court was told that because of the late announcement regarding the date for the hearing, Nelson was unable to return to Trinidad in time for the proceedings.

Nelson is alleged to have conspired with Ramlogan and Ramdeen to receive, conceal, and transfer criminal property given to Ramlogan by Nelson as the lawyer in various matters for the State.

It is also alleged that he conspired with Ramlogan and Ramdeen for the former to misbehave in public office, with Ramlogan accepting rewards from Nelson and conspiring to corruptly give Ramlogan rewards as attorney general.

On May 2, the 61-year-old Nelson accepted a plea deal and pleaded guilty before Chief Magistrate Maria Busby Earle-Caddle, and agreed to be the State's main witness in its case against Ramlogan and Ramdeen under the Criminal Procedure Act.

The matter was transferred to the High Court in 14 days, in keeping with provisions of the Act.

At the magistrate's court Nelson's attorney, Tom Allen, QC, had earlier argued that bail for his client was part of the agreement with the prosecution that he be granted his own bail and no restrictions placed on him to leave the country.

Allen submitted that Nelson, since October 2017, had been fully cooperating with the prosecution at an “unprecedented level”, and has given several witness statements knowing full well he has incriminated himself, despite risks to himself.

Allen said Nelson was the key prosecution witness and was “safer out of this jurisdiction”.

Ramlogan and Ramdeen have been released on a total bail of TT$2.7 million and will re-appear in court on June 28.

They have been charged with conspiracy to contravene Section 3 of the Prevention of Corruption Act; conspiracy to contravene Section 45 of the Proceeds of Crime Act; and conspiracy to misbehave in public office between October 1, 2010 and September 9, 2015.

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